DailyOh! Rafale jets that have arrived, to how Defence Ministry chanced upon $3 billion

The Rafale jets have landed in India after a 7000-km flight from France. But how did Rafale come to be used as a word in military lingo?

 |  5-minute read |   29-07-2020
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“They have arrived!” A nation deprived of saying that for arriving baraats through the wedding season, finally found a let-out in the arrival of Rafale fighter jets today. Now they are here. Here is where? Ambala IAF airbase.

Hours before the arrival, everyone broke into a chorus of ‘Happy Landings’ to the jets. Now, jets can’t listen to you but, with freedom of expression, who can stop you from saying things to things animate and inanimate.

That is a needless point. The point of importance is that five of the 36 jets for which India and France are tied in a deal, have landed in India – with Pakistan and China watching. Will these ‘gusts of wind’ and ‘bursts of fire’ deter them from eyeing Indian territory? That is a tough one to answer so we would skip that for now. For now, we will focus on Rafale. The word the nation is obsessing over today is our Word Of The Day.

Rafale is a French word and so are the jets. As in they are ours now, but they have been built by French firm Dassault Aviation. In French, the word Rafale means ‘gusts of wind’ or ‘bursts of fire’. In the military sense the word came to be used by French general Hippolyte Langlois. It was adopted soon after in English, but seems to have petered out after World War I. In India, the word is back in reckoning.

raf-690_072920054742.jpgFive Rafale jets have arrived in India from France. (Photo: Twitter/@Indian_Embassy)

The talks to acquire the jets began during the UPA era. The groundwork happened during the NDA era. But political slugfest happened in all eras. The current one is over who can claim credit for the arrival. We say just credit the pilots who have flown in the jets and get done. But there is a greater possibility to jets listening to our ‘Happy Landings’ wishes than political parties listening to sane advice.

Be that as it may. Manohar Parrikar was the Minister of Defence when the deal was signed between India and France for 36 jets. It is however said Parrikar was inaugurating a mobile fish stall the day PM Narendra Modi was signing the deal in France. It still needs to be said that Parrikar played a more pivotal role in the ministry than his UPA predecessor AK Antony. One thing which has to be credited to Parrikar is the chance discovery of US $3 billion (Rs 22,422 crore) in a long-unused and long-forgotten account.

You know the joy of finding even a Rs 100 note in your pocket before you throw the pants for washing. So imagine chancing upon this kind of money. The money had reportedly been parked in the account Indian Ministry of Defence in an account managed by US government’s Defence Department. Who forgets that kind of money? One who has a lot of money. Like the government. But how was it discovered? As per a press statement by MoD, it was thanks to the “scrupulous and holistic financial management” in practice in the Parrikar-led ministry. But not everything about the man was great. To know more about the man Parrikar was, you can read his biography by Sadguru Patil and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, but if you want to read a review of the biography itself, read this.

Rafale will fire its salvo when the time comes. We hope the enemy behaves and that time, like tomorrow, never comes. But Sushant Singh Rajput’s father KK Singh has fired his salvo at actor and Sushant’s ‘girlfriend’ Rhea Chakraborty by filing an FIR against her saying that Rhea took money from Sushant and instigated him to kill himself. Sushant’s family counsel has said that Mumbai Police was informed by the actor’s family that he is in danger and immediate action is required. Vikas Singh, the counsel, said the family told Mumbai Police in February that Sushant’s life was in danger. Singh says this complaint was made on February 25.

The Mumbai Police has questioned Rhea in connection Sushant’s death, it is now time for Patna Police to question her. Rhea has meanwhile moved the Supreme Court asking the case be moved to Mumbai.

We will keep you updated on how she exercises her legal options, but Sushant’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande has exercised her social media options, posting and tweeting: Truth Wins.

What truth Ankita is talking about is difficult to say, but given that the tweet and post came after the FIR news broke, many are seeing it as one connected to Sushant’s death by suicide. Why is Ankita not naming names? Because it can have legal implications for Ankita.

But who has undergone a name change? Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The new name is Ministry of Education because MHRD was dealing with all things related to education.

The name change has been followed by policy change and a new education policy has been announced soon. Expect politics to break out over this too.

And expect China to lie through the teeth. The country has been claiming disengagement at most friction point has been completed, but India has refuted the claim saying not much has changed at Gogra and Pangong Lake for over a fortnight even as a new status quo has emerged. The dragon nation has been silent on the status of Pangong Lake even as it says disengagement at Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra is complete.

China doesn’t seem to have learnt any lessons from app bans in India. But Facebook is trying to make a windfall from the TikTok ban imposed in India and now a possible one in the US.

Facebook has offered financial incentives to TikTok influencers with millions of followers to join Reels. What is Reels? It’s a new yet-to-be-launched short video-making service. It's already on Instagram, if you were wondering where you've heard that word before.

If you were a TikTok influencer your time is now. If you weren’t one, the times to come could be yours because if you weren’t an influencer on TikTok doesn’t mean you can’t be one on Reels.

And if you say, “Why the heck should I be an influencer?” Congratulations, on being Zen.

On that note, we will take your leave for today.

Be back tomorrow.

Also Read | An Extraordinary Life: Manohar Parrikar, the man under whom Rafale deal was signed


Vandana Vandana @vsinghhere

Author is Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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